expert opinions

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet

Powered by :

Sustainability is built on the vision that everyone can meet their basic requirements without jeopardising future generations. Energy sustainability adheres to the same goals. Fossil fuels such as coal, natural gas and oil are not only harmful to the environment when consumed for energy, but they are also unsustainable as they are finite resources.

But renewable and sustainable energy is the solution to these energy problems. Specifically, sustainable energy poses a lower environmental risk and contributes little to climate change. However, it is costly. While the energy sources themselves are usually accessible, there are costs connected to developing and constructing methods of capturing sustainable energy.

Against this backdrop, tech-enabled sustainability solutions have emerged as critical weapons in the fight against climate change and other social, environmental and economic issues.

Mixing the sources

An expert in the energy sector, Giovanni Bruni, Partner, McKinsey & Company, shares his keen insights in an interview with Mohit Sagar, CEO and Editor-in-Chief OpenGov Asia. “The way I look at it, sustainable energy is something that has no or limited adverse effects on the environment, but there is also broader thinking on top of emissions: for example, the impact on habitats, the impact on water,” he explains.

He also notes the subtle difference between sustainable and renewable energy – the latter could regenerate itself instead of depleting. However, it still can adversely affect the environment and other areas.

Giovanni also acknowledges the importance of diverse energy sources when developing more sustainable energy systems in the future and that there is no absolute best mix of energy sources. “A fixed energy mix is unlikely. It’s always dependent on a given country’s dominant energy resources or location.”

Some areas may have a surplus in a particular resource but need more of others. For example, a windier area would have a good wind endowment, while another part with high sun availability might not get as much wind.

Mixing resources, ensuring grid interconnections, or developing energy storage capacity becomes vital when examining alternative energy. Renewables can be intermittent: the windier area should not rely on only windmills alone because sometimes there are conditions when the wind is not as good as usual to generate sufficient electricity.

“It was two years ago when there was a windless summer in Europe. So you don’t want to rely too much on one sort of the same resources. You want to have a mix; don’t put all your eggs in one basket,” he says.

Driving sustainability

Giovanni thinks it is a chicken and egg problem when it comes to pushing for the adoption of sustainable energy, which can be solved by collaboration between the industry and government. The private sector can drive initiatives while the government can support them with policies that allow industries to take decisions and embrace more risk.

“Usually, it is difficult for the government to drive it unilaterally. But policy can give more advanced visibility and help by creating these initial use cases, and maybe giving incentives could allow businesses to think forward. That’s one aspect which I think is important,” he elaborates.

Giovanni observes that many more sustainable energy commitments have emerged in the region and believes a majority of countries in Southeast Asia have moved toward a more sustainable perspective. This is signalled by shorter-term emission reduction targets, incentives, green business building and encouraging EV adoption.

New value chains and new economic opportunities could be the baseline to see decarbonisation as an opportunity to grow. It can be a way to leapfrog the economy and create new competencies.

Regarding which industry would be a priority to utilise sustainable energy, Giovanni feels that at this point, there is no way to pick a single choice. But among the sectors, power, transport, industry, agriculture and forestry make significant contributions, and each requires bespoke solutions.

“All these four big buckets have unique challenges; we need to find solutions and resolutions that look different, right?”

For example, instead of relying only on conventional fuels and renewables in the power sector, they can be coupled with some sources like hydrogen, which can be stored and provide ways to deal with intermittency.

And some industries, such as cement, face structural hurdles to reducing their carbon footprint. A possible solution is dealing with carbon by storing or reusing it.

LKYGBPC for sustainable energy

Giovanni has seen how the Lee Kuan Yew Global Business Plan Competition (LKYGBPC) has progressed since its launch a few years ago. At that time, the competition was based more on technology applied in a consumer sense. He appreciates that now LKYGBPC includes the energy transition and sustainability sector in the competition.

“These types of competitions allow a broader set of people to engage. That’s the value, to have an impact and influence.”

He adds that embarking on these competitions can also help entice the new generation to adopt new technologies and practices.

“It helps educate in terms of understanding how your choices link to outcomes because oftentimes we don’t have that transparency,” he says. “Do I choose to walk, or do I take public transport? One thing that is very important is getting exposure to the actual reality on the ground.”

“What is really moving the needle? What are the practical hurdles that are happening? So that we can have a slightly more intimate understanding of what is happening. These are complex systems, especially when we talk about energy in the economy,” he adds.

Creating an experience is a profound way to present innovation to the youth, and Giovanni is optimistic that youth can take away much from such competitions.

Ultimately, he feels that through business competitions, youths have the potential to take that experience and bring it into their lives, their work, and whatever areas they want to have an impact and influence – even in the field of sustainable energy.

Organisations of all sizes are vigorously pursuing innovation that they can adopt and deploy to remain ahead in an increasingly competitive and tech-driven landscape. This entails not only looking externally but must develop ways to cultivate a culture of innovation within.

Evolving and adapting are crucial as they help organisations to grow and establish themselves. Ultimately, organisations want to better serve clients by developing new and better goods and services, eventually becoming top contenders in the industry.

The possibilities for innovation are limitless and more will emerge. Innovation is needed in all fields, including product production, management, work methods, staff development, etc. It can help a company retain and motivate its workforce, increase revenues, expand its customer base, and rise to the top of its industry.

Innovation is going to be critical and what will set an organisation apart. Therefore, it is vital that organisations go the extra mile to stand out from their competitors. This could entail occupying a more niche market, elevating quality, bettering deliveries or offering an easy and efficient consumer experience.

Determining customer preferences, tracking trends and predicting demand are essential and must be done innovatively. Companies that can efficiently elicit, synthesise and collaborate on creative ideas that serve the market have the best chance of success.

However, this is easier to be said than done. Although there are many theories on adopting successful innovation in an organisation, implementing it successfully is a whole other thing.

Enabling adaptive innovation

Howard Califano, Director, SMART Innovation Centre, is passionate about innovation, especially in the deep tech sector, and has deep expertise with years of experience.

In an exclusive interview with Mohit Sagar, CEO and Editor-in-Chief OpenGov Asia, he revealed insights on how academia can successfully take an idea from inception to market as a genuine, sustainable, profitable business.

Howard focuses primarily on post-doctoral students working in the deep tech area covering technology around life sciences, new materials, nanotechnology, healthcare and the Internet of Things (IoT).

Technology generally originates from the academic or the startup world, and is, by default, a high-risk sector to put in capital. For the most part, the concepts are disruptive and unique, demanding significant capital for further research and development to translate the idea into a viable solution.

Living in innovation within the university brings Howard great excitement. Teaching young researchers in the boot camps, seeking and giving grants and launching companies have become the fuel for what he does over the years. Seeing that community gradually develop and the influx of more scientists and entrepreneurs ignites his passion and enthusiasm.

Howard works to ensure that academic centres have a greater impact on society. To do so, creating an innovation culture that encourages students to embrace impactful innovation is crucial.

To be viable and sustainable, a disruptive innovation needs to produce goods and services that meet customers’ needs and therefore have economic and societal impact. However, data shows that about 70% of companies launched out of academia fail because the customers want something other than the product.

“They have missed the product market fit. Scientists and researchers need to know how to develop technology that will meet the needs of the customer by listening to them. The needs of the customer and knowing what they want is key; not just making something they (the students) like but the customer may not want,” he emphasises.

He has shared his model in his newly launched book Adaptive Innovation: An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Technology Innovation. The book provides a framework for translating ideas from the academic laboratory to commercial ventures. It is designed for academic researchers (advanced PhD students, post-doctoral fellows, university faculty and staff) who believe their research ideas could be the basis for a commercial venture.

The book encapsulates what has been garnered in ten years in the deep tech space, from training nearly 500 postdocs and launching 55 companies with an aggregate value of approximately US$ 1.3 billion. Adaptive innovation was developed through this process/journey.

“We saw certain patterns and we realised that certain approaches work better and help overcome some of the failure points in university startups in which they produce a product that the market doesn’t want,” Howard reveals.

There are 6 foundations steps to creating an adaptive innovation framework:

  1. Start with the technology survey.
  2. Do an opportunity matrix – what are all the things that technology could impact? Analyse that and figure out the lead product and the value proposition around it.
  3. Find a good product market fit.
  4. Test the product or service in the market, talk to customers, do a market analysis and fine-tune the product offerings.
  5. Generate a target product profile to meet the market demand.
  6. Build a roadmap and secure finances and resources.

Steps for product market fit

The importance of product market fit cannot be understated as it is the primary step to creating an impactful innovation and building business when discussing innovation culture. To understand the customer’s need, users must build a 360-degree view to comprehend various aspects. He suggests that a diverse and open team helps to bring different angles and perspectives to create a meaningful 360-degree view.

“One needs to understand the needs of the customer, the voice of the customer so that impact can be driven in that direction. To do that, you need a 360-degree view of this innovation culture. Looking at the markets, looking at competition, looking at evolving technologies, looking at economic pressures that are developing,” he elaborates further.

Howards reiterates that it is essential to have a change in thinking, especially in an academic situation. This paradigm shift is vital for researchers and scientists, so they do not solely focus on the lab but concentrate more on the needs of the customer and markets. This will determine how one takes the technology from the lab and introduces it to the market.

“We recognised that there was a kind of mindset shift that needed to occur. Getting the change in the mindset of the researchers and the technologists so that they can direct their technology towards a market made. And help them become scientists’ entrepreneurs at the end of that process.”

To promote the mind shift among academics, he started boot camps. He realised it was difficult for faculty to distinguish between a typical grant, a research grant and a commercialisation grant. The camps give researchers and scientists the ability to transition their ideas out of the lab and move them into the marketplace.

“Mindset change is vital so you’re adapting your technology to meet a customer’s needs. You’re not doing innovation purely for the sake of making something cool. You are making something cool that the market also wants – so you can have an impact in the market,” he explains.

Another piece of advice he gives is to find a “sweet spot” – where the marketplace and technology overlap. Usually considered independent and separate variables, the sweet spot is where a new technology product finds a sustainable market. The product can significantly impact and create a sustainable company when this intersection is found.

He encourages innovators to start with what they have in hand first. Through the learning and evaluation process, the products or services can be refined periodically to fit with market demand. But even as they refine the concept, they need to always have a consumer-centric perspective.

Create impact through LKYGBPC

As one of the juries for the Lee Kuan Yew Global Business Plan Competition (LKYGBPC), he believes that actions speak louder than words. Well-meaning or well-sounding plans must be accompanied by well-thought-out action.

The LKYGBPC competition highlights Lee Kuan Yew as an innovative icon for Singapore who was determined to change Singapore from a third-world country to a first-world one.

For Howard, the LKYGBPC competition epitomises this goal, stimulating an innovation culture and motivating young people. This competition is essential to stimulate an ecosystem that encourages innovation and entrepreneurship.

In the end, he believes research and discovery will bring a meaningful impact and will be what drives society in the future.

Masyarakat Thailand dikenal kerap melahirkan ide-ide inovatif dan terus mengembangkan produk untuk membuat hidup mereka lebih baik. Hal ini terjadi baik dalam keadaan normal maupun saat krisis. Hal inilah yang lantas dinarasikan lewat kampanye ‘Inovasi Thailand’, yang ditujukan untuk mempromosikan kreativitas Thailand ke khalayak global.

Lewat Koalisi Inovasi Thailand, Badan Inovasi Nasional Thailand (NIA) merangkul mitra dari berbagai sektor mulai dari lembaga pemerintah, organisasi swasta, lembaga pendidikan, dan masyarakat sipil untuk memperluas cakupan platform ‘Inovasi Thailand’.

Inisiatif ini pada dasarnya bertujuan untuk menyatukan ide-ide dari daerah dan pusat untuk merevitalisasi negara dan mendengungkan kesadaran dan kebanggaan pada berbagai inovasi Thailand. Koalisi Inovasi Thailand akan berperan sebagai corong Thailand untuk unjuk gigi sebagai bangsa yang inovatif. Lewat koalisi ini para anggota pun bisa saling bertukar pengetahuan dan keterampilan.

Seluruh pihak yang terlibat sangat antusias untuk membantu Thailand mencapai tujuannya menjadi salah satu dari 30 negara inovatif teratas dunia pada tahun 2030 dan mengubah Thailand menjadi negara yang digerakkan oleh inovasi.

Pendongkrak ekonomi

Thailand mendirikan Badan Inovasi Nasional (NIA) untuk mengembangkan sistem inovasi guna mempromosikan restrukturisasi ekonomi dan meningkatkan daya saing. Dalam wawancara eksklusif dengan Mohit Sagar, CEO dan Pemimpin Redaksi OpenGov Asia, Dr Pun-Arj Chairatana, Direktur Eksekutif Badan Inovasi Nasional, Thailand membeberkan bagaimana platform ‘Inovasi Thailand’ diluncurkan untuk percepatan pemulihan ekonomi nasional.

Thailand adalah tujuan wisata dan salah satu dari tiga teratas di dunia. Budaya Thailand pun menjunjung tinggi pada ketajaman keahlian dan detail yang presisi. Untuk itu, ‘Inovasi Thailand’ diciptakan sebagai perpaduan teknologi modern dengan pengetahuan yang sudah mendarah daging dari generasi ke generasi di negara itu. Dan NIA bakal menjadi badan yang mengkomunikasikan dan menandai inovasi yang bisa dengan mudah dipahami dan terkoneksi dengan masyarakat dan institusi asing.

“Kami memulai kampanye ‘Inovasi Thailand’ sebelum COVID-19 karena kami melihat orang Thailand dan klien global kesulitan untuk memahami produk dan layanan unik Thailand,” jelas Dr Pun-Arj. “(Padahal) kami telah menciptakan solusi cerdas melalui yang bisa meningkatkan standar hidup masyarakat, kemakmuran, kesehatan, keselamatan, dan lingkungan.”

Ia percaya Inovasi memainkan peran kunci dalam mendorong ekonomi dan masyarakat Thailand yang lebih kuat. Untuk memulihkan pertumbuhan negara pasca-pandemi, Thailand memprioritaskan model Bio-Circular-Green Economy (BCG). Model BCG berfokus pada empat sektor strategis: pertanian dan pangan, kesehatan dan obat-obatan, energi, material, dan biokimia serta pariwisata dan ekonomi kreatif.

Model ini menekankan penggunaan sains, teknologi, dan inovasi untuk meningkatkan potensi keunggulan Thailand di sektor keanekaragaman hayati dan budaya menjadi lebih kompetitif. Mengapa Thailand lebih memilih Langkah ini? Tujuan utamanya adalah untuk mendukung keberlanjutan sumber daya hayati, mengembangkan ekonomi dan komunitas lokal, serta menjadikan industri BCG Thailand lebih kompetitif dan tahan terhadap perubahan sosial.

Poin lain yang ingin dicapai adalah untuk membuat ekonomi, masyarakat, dan lingkungan Thailand lebih berkelanjutan dan inklusif. “Untuk mencapai tujuan 2030, kami harus bekerja sangat keras untuk mendorong inovasi dalam ekonomi BCG ini. Pada saat yang sama, kebijakan nasional perlu diperbaiki.”

Komunitas inovator

Selain itu, NIA mulai mengembangkan inovasi dengan membangun komunitas untuk bertukar ide dan memfasilitasi inovasi yang berpotensi menjadi gerakan strategis untuk pemerintah. Mereka pun merekrut lebih banyak Chief Innovation Officer dari sektor swasta, publik, dan universitas.

Dr Pun-Arj berusaha meningkatkan keahlian teknologi masyarakat Thailand di daerah dan perkotaan. Sebab ia melihat inovasi  bisa membawa peluang peningkatan ekonomi. Untuk itu, NIA menyediakan platform inovasi sosial untuk membantu pengembangan kesejahteraan warga.

“Fokus utama kami adalah pada pemerataan potensi inovasi di daerah dan (pengembangan) startup – perusahaan berbasis inovasi,” ungkap Dr Pun-Arj.

Ia percaya kesuksesan komunitas bergantung dari fondasi yang kuat dan berfungsi dengan baik. Oleh karena itu, untuk menghadapi tantangan yang akan datang Thailand akan memodernisasi industri dan infrastruktur mereka.

“Di masa lalu, membangun pengintegrasian sistem (system integrator) menjadi salah satu prioritas lima tahun kami. Namun, ketika sistem (makin mapan) dan ekosistem jadi lebih kuat, kami berubah menjadi fasilitator penuh.”

Namun, sebelum mengubah fungsi dari pengintegrasian sistem ke fasilitator, Pun-Arj menyarankan untuk memperhitungkan dampaknya terlebih dulu. Thailand pun mendorong universitas untuk melakukan penelitian dan kerja sama teknologi dengan organisasi lain di seluruh dunia.

Untuk mengevaluasi kinerja inovasi di tingkat kabupaten dan kota, NIA menerapkan penilaian berdasarkan Indeks Inovasi Kota. Badan ini pun secara berkala melakukan survei terhadap industri untuk mengevaluasi dan menanyakan kesulitan yang mereka hadapi.

Inovasi memerlukan strategi yang kuat. Pada umumnya, untuk menentukan sebuah strategi cukup kuat atau tidak ditentukan oleh tiga faktor, yaitu target, proses pengalokasian sumber daya yang dibutuhkan, dan evaluasi.

Menurut Pun-Arj, strategi inovasi pemerintah Thailand berfokus pada tiga hal khusus:

  1. memiliki bisnis yang sangat kuat di berbagai lini yang dengan sendirinya akan terbangun menjadi perusahaan skala besar;
  2. Perlunya undang-undang, peraturan, dan
  3. tata kelola untuk mengidentifikasi risiko di masa depan.

Inovasi sebagai solusi

Saat ini, Thailand sedang bergumul dengan beberapa isu, salah satunya terkait dengan ketimpangan terkait tidak meratanya akses ke layanan publik, teknologi digital, dan pendidikan. Hal lain terkait dengan masalah lingkungan, biaya manufaktur yang tinggi, dan jenis persaingan baru dalam rantai pasokan global.

Selain itu, ada banyak tantangan dalam hal transformasi digital dan layanan pemerintah dan negara. Sehingga, Thailand berharap inovasi bisa muncul sebagai solusi dan mendorong inovasi untuk menghasilkan kebijakan tertulis dan praktis.

Sebelumnya disebutkan bahwa untuk rencana lima tahun NIA berfokus sebagai pengintegrasian sistem dan fasilitator inti. Sementara untuk jangka pendek, NIA berkonsentrasi pada pelatihan manajemen dalam metode, program, dan kegiatan yang telah diterapkan dalam lima tahun terakhir.

NIA terutama berkonsentrasi pada penguatan potensi inovasi regional di beberapa sektor utama seperti teknologi baru, bantuan untuk startup, penciptaan modal ventura atau investasi untuk inovasi, dan internasionalisasi inovasi Thailand.

Dr Pun-Arj telah diakui sebagai perintis dalam domain pandangan ke depan dan manajemen inovasi di negara ini. Dia menasihati siapa pun yang bercita-cita menjadi inovator hebat untuk sepenuhnya memahami konsep ketidakpastian dan kegagalan.

“Inovasi akan membantu kita tumbuh sebagai komunitas atau bangsa dengan membuat diri kita sendiri dan orang lain sadar akan pentingnya inovasi,” tutup Dr Pun-Arj.

Perkembangan teknologi yang tidak dapat dihindari yang memaksa kita untuk terus beradaptasi dengan mengadopsi berbagai metode, model, dan proses terbaru. Saat ini kecerdasan buatan (artificial intelligence/AI), pembelajaran mesin (machine learning/ ML), dan robot-robot pabrik, menjadi sebuah fenomena teknologi baru yang tengah berkembang pesat.

Sejumlah teknologi baru itu digadang-gadang bakal menghemat biaya dan meningkatkan efisiensi kerja baik dari segi kuantitas dan kualitas. Sehingga, kehadiran teknologi-teknologi anyar ini berpotensi untuk merevolusi kerja perusahaan dan hingga ke taraf kehidupan pribadi. Bantuan teknologi ini bisa mempermudah kita melakukan pekerjaan yang lebih masif dengan melibatkan lebih sedikit sumber daya manusia.

Peningkatan otomatisasi dan digital telah meningkatkan kapasitas analitik, teknis, dan manajemen. Bahkan saat ini, banyak organisasi teknologi besar telah mencapai skala ekonomi yang luas tanpa basis staf yang besar.

Namun, di samping meningkatkan akurasi, produksi, dan efisiensi operasional, banyak perusahaan pun menyadari bahwa solusi canggih tersebut bisa menggeser sejumlah pekerjaan tertentu. Akibatnya, kebutuhan tenaga kerja dan keterampilan akan berubah. Maka perusahaan akan membutuhkan lebih sedikit karyawan untuk posisi-posisi yang bisa digantikan oleh teknologi. Ketika, AI, ML, robotik, dan automasi menggeser sejumlah pekerjaan lawas, maka akan ada kebutuhan baru bagi karyawan dengan keterampilan baru.

Tantangan dan peluang

Dalam wawancara eksklusif dengan Mohit Sagar, CEO dan Pemimpin Redaksi OpenGov Asia, Michael Baron, CEO & Direktur ​Baron Consulting Group, Singapura, yakin perubahan teknologi akan berdampak positif bagi kebanyakan orang. Namun, bagi Sebagian orang kemajuan teknologi bisa jadi malah dianggap sebagai batu sandungan lantaran membuat mereka kehilangan lapangan pekerjaan.

“Akan ada pro dan kontra. Namun, kita perlu memahami kalau perkembangan teknologi itu penting untuk (perkembangan) seseorang, perusahaan, dan pemerintah. Kita harus menjadi bangsa dan bisnis yang tetap kompetitif. Jadi, menurut saya buat mereka yang mendukung kemajuan teknologi, maka masa depan mereka akan berdampak positif. Kita perlu fokus pada kemajuan ketimbang membuat semua orang nyaman,” jelas Michael.

Ia yakin pada hakikatnya siapapun bisa beradaptasi dengan teknologi baru. Ia mencontohkan bagaimana orang-orang di Asia Tenggara belakangan ini akhirnya terbiasa dengan sistem tiket digital. Ketika teknologi ini pertama kali diperkenalkan di beberapa negara di Asia Tenggara dan Australia, banyak yang kesulitan dan mengeluh ketika harus melakukan penyesuaian. Namun, sistem transportasi umum baru memaksa mereka untuk beradaptasi dengan sistem baru. Pada akhirnya, semua orang kemudian terbiasa dan senang menggunakan teknologi baru itu.

Untuk itu, Baron mengajak semua orang untuk bisa melihat kemunculan teknologi baru sebagai peluang unik. Sebab, perubahan tidak bisa dihindari, cepat atau lambat hal itu akan mempengaruhi di semua bidang. Sehingga, bisnis perlu melakukan menyelaraskan tawaran produk dan layanan mereka sesuai perkembangan teknologi. Sehingga sangat mungkin perusahaan membuat restrukturisasi untuk posisi yang tak lagi relevan dengan tuntutan zaman.

“Saya ingat pepatah China kuno yang menyebutkan bahwa setiap krisis adalah peluang. Kita bisa berkali-kali kehilangan pekerjaan dan bisnis, tapi saya tidak menjadikan hal itu sebagai sebuah drama. Saya melihatnya sebagai peluang. Lihat itu sebagai pengalaman yang menarik, transformasi alami,” saran Baron.

Mendulang manfaat AI

Baron berbagi cerita bagaimana AI bisa memberi manfaat bagi dirinya pribadi, perusahaan, dan pemerintahan. Ia bercerita bagaimana mesin analitik berhasil membantu ia menjadi pecatur yang lebih baik. Berkat AI yang menganalisis permainan catur online yang ia lakukan, Baron berhasil mengetahui letak kesalahan dan peluang yang dia lewatkan selama permainan. AI itu juga menyarankan apa yang harus dia pelajari dan bagaimana cara meningkatkan performa permainan di lain waktu.

Hal yang sama juga berlaku untuk organisasi atau pemerintah. Transformasi digital dan kemajuan teknologi bisa digunakan oleh swasta dan pemerintah agar bisa memperbaiki layanan mereka ke pasar dan mempertahankan posisi mereka. Menurut Baron, mengadopsi perkembangan teknologi bukan lagi masalah penerimaan, tapi masalah bertahan hidup agar tetap relevan, menangani tantangan, dan memberikan solusi yang lebih baik.

Sebab, seperti kita tahu dari tahun ke tahun, perusahaan yang enggan berubah sangat cepat kehilangan pasar dan dikalahkan kompetitor. Pasalnya, para pemain tradisional ini sudah kehilangan relevansi dengan pasar; mereka tidak lagi memahami pasar. Hal ini menjadi contoh bagaimana pembaruan bisnis, mengadopsi tujuan baru, dan merangkul teknologi baru adalah krusial.

Selain itu, sebagai penggemar berat analitik prediktif, Baron percaya bahwa dengan analitik kitab isa mempelajari sejarah masa lalu untuk membangun masa depan yang lebih baik. Ia lantas mengutip seorang filsuf Yunani yang mengatakan bahwa sejarah berulang dengan sendirinya. Sehingga, analisis prediktif akan berperan dalam memperkirakan masa depan berdasarkan apa yang terjadi di masa lalu. Analisa ini berguna untuk memberikan peta untuk menangani masalah berulang yang kemungkinan terjadi di masa depan.

Dari segi tantangan, Baron yakin bahwa keamanan, privasi, dan kontrol masih akan menjadi masalah besar di masa mendatang. Faktor etika juga muncul di seluruh dunia saat ini. Organisasi dengan kehadiran internasional harus mematuhi semua undang-undang dan peraturan masing-masing negara tentang kepemilikan dan pengelolaan data. Meskipun teknologi cenderung berkembang lebih cepat dari peraturan pemerintah, pada akhirnya semua negara membuat aturan hukum mereka masing-masing.

Teknologi atasi keterbatasan

Baron mengakui sejumlah negara sangat agresif menjadi yang terdepan untuk menjalankan transformasi digital, seperti Jepang, China, dan Singapura. Negara-negara ini menunjukkan dengan pemanfaatan teknologi mereka bisa mencapai kemajuan meski hanya memiliki dukungan sumber daya yang terbatas.

Jepang contohnya. Setelah Perang Dunia Kedua, perekonomian mereka runtuh dan kekurangan sumber daya alam. Namun, mereka berhasil menghadapi tantangan ini dengan mengembangkan teknologi dan mengejar solusi digital secara agresif. Akhirnya, mereka berhasil bangkit menjadi salah satu ekonomi terkuat dunia dan menjadi tolok ukur global untuk pembangunan.

Kemajuan China bisa menjadi contoh berikutnya bagaimana visi digital dan teknologi yang kuat di negara itu berhasil mendorong kesuksesan yang luar biasa. China berhasil bergerak dari masyarakat yang sebagian besar berprofesi di sector agraris di pedesaan, menjadi ekonomi terbesar kedua di dunia. China menjadi contoh menarik untuk dipelajari bagaimana kemauan politik yang dikombinasikan dengan pemanfaatan teknologi bisa memainkan peran penting dalam mendorong kemajuan.

Sementara Singapura pun berhasil membuktikan dirinya sebagai eksponen teknologi dan inovasi digital terkemuka. Negara ini mengkompensasi kekurangan sumber daya dengan melakukan investasi besar-besaran untuk pengembangan teknologi, inovasi, dan pendidikan. Sehingga, ketersediaan infrastruktur dan dukungan kebijakan pemerintah telah menjadikan negara ini sebagai salah satu tujuan menarik bagi para pekerja teknologi internasional dan investor.

Jalur kewirausahaan LKYGBPC

Jika perkembangan teknologi berdampak besar terhadap lapangan pekerjaan di masa depan, maka menumbuhkan bibit kewirausahaan merupakan salah satu solusinya. Sebagai anggota Panel Juri Internasional (IJP) untuk Kompetisi Rencana Bisnis Global Lee Kuan Yew (LKYGBPC), Baron mendorong orang untuk tidak hanya merangkul ide orang lain tetapi juga bekerja dengan ide mereka. Dia percaya bahwa setiap orang memiliki sesuatu untuk dikontribusikan.

Untuk mendorong kewirausahaan, maka perlu memberikan pelajaran yang tepat, memberikan pengetahuan teknologi, mengenalkan dengan keterampilan dan sifat yang diperlukan, serta menyediakan lingkungan pertumbuhan yang tepat.

Menurut Baron, kompetisi internasional menjadi salah satu stimuli terbaik untuk menggodok jiwa-jiwa pengusaha ini. Dengan mengumpulkan ide dan talenta global, mereka bisa saling berbagi dan mendapat inspirasi untuk mewujudkan impian mereka, mengungkapkan keprihatinan mereka, dan untuk menemukan solusi. Persaingan menciptakan lingkungan yang tepat untuk menyatukan ide dan menyesuaikannya dengan pasar tertentu.

Kompetisi adalah kesempatan bagi orang-orang yang memiliki ide untuk mengasah diri, mempresentasikan ide mereka ke dunia luas, dan membuka kesempatan untuk sukses. Sehingga Baron mendukung lebih banyak lagi kompetisi internasional karena agar ide-ide brilian untuk masa depan yang lebih baik bagi dunia bisa keluar melampaui batas.

Kecerdasan buatan (artificial intelligence/AI) dan teknologi digital lainnya diyakini dapat membantu memecahkan beberapa masalah penting dunia seperti perubahan iklim, berkurangnya keanekaragaman hayati, kerawanan pangan, dan risiko kesehatan masyarakat. Kemajuan teknologi ini disebut bisa memajukan transformasi yang bisa mengubah permainan global untuk masa depan lingkugan yang lebih berkelanjutan (sustainable) dan adil.

Pasalnya, saat ini konsumen memiliki preferensi untuk memilih bisnis yang lebih memerhatikan lingkungan. Mereka ingin bisnis tidak sekedar memberikan produk dan layanan yang bagus, tetapi juga memiliki tanggung jawab terhadap keberlangsungan masa depan planet ini. Para konsumen punya tuntutan baru untuk berinvestasi di perusahaan yang memiliki reputasi baik dan bertanggung jawab. Sehingga, sebagian besar bisnis yang mendominasi pasar perlu lebih dari sekedar memberikan produk yang bagus, tetapi juga berkontribusi secara sosial, lingkungan, dan peduli pada keberkelanjutan.

Sejumlah kelompok konsumen tertentu gencar menerbitkan laporan bahwa tentang meningkatnya minat pada perusahaan yang lebih ramah lingkungan. Sehingga, tak ayal jika lebih dari 90% pebisnis setuju bahwa kepedulian pada keberlanjutan sangat penting untuk kesuksesan mereka.

Maka, untuk terus menumbuhkan bisnis perusahaan, perhatian pada lingkungan dan keberlanjutan perlu ditelisik lebih dalam untuk menjadi bagian vital dalam strategi dan operasi perusahaan. Banyak perusaahaan pun telah proaktif untuk mengembangkan masa depan yang lebih hijau Bersama dengan konsumen, mitra, pemangku kepentingan, dan pekerja mereka.

Adopsi teknologi untuk kelestarian lingkungan

Dalam sebuah wawancara eksklusif dengan Mohit Sagar, CEO & Pemimpin Redaksi OpenGov Asia, Vivek Lath, Mitra di McKinsey & Company, Singapura, mengakui bahwa kemajuan teknologi sedikit banyak dipengaruhi oleh masalah perubahan iklim. Perubahan iklim dan krisis lingkungan terkait telah membantu orang menyadari betapa buruknya dampak kemajuan yang diciptakan tanpa diiringi dengan tanggung jawab terhadap planet ini. Sehingga, di era digital ini banyak orang memberikan solusi mutakhir untuk mengelola pemanasan global dan beralih dari bahan bakar fosil ke energi terbarukan.

“Semua orang menjadi sadar akan perlunya tindakan untuk mengutamakan keberlanjutan,” kata Vivek. “Minat perusahaan terhadap isu keberlanjutan semakin besar dan melahirkan inisiatif untuk memenuhi kebutuhan mereka yang terdampak secara sosial, ekonomi, dan lingkungan.”

Banyak bisnis yang tengah mencari cara untuk berkontribusi secara signifikan untuk memperbaiki lingkungan. Hal ini tentu akan membutuhkan investasi dan kerja keras. “Kami melihat bisnis mempercepat momentum mereka dan mempertimbangkan inovasi terbaik untuk memperbaiki iklim. Contoh kasusnya adalah bagaimana perusahaan kendaraan listrik bisa menghemat banyak biaya untuk menciptakan teknologi ramah lingkungan.”

Vivek percaya strategi digitalisasi dan dekarbonisasi bisa membantu perusahaan untuk memitigasi dan menghadapi perubahan iklim yang ekstrem. Sebagai contoh, teknologi industri 4.0 akan membantu upaya untuk pengurangan emisi. Dengan memanfaatkan digitalisasi, bisnis dapat mengidentifikasi sumber emisi, baik di tingkat produk, tingkat unit manufaktur, maupun tingkat peralatan. Mereka kemudian dapat menentukan intervensi yang diperlukan untuk mengurangi emisi, seperti perubahan pengaturan manufaktur atau personel, dan kemudian memantau apakah intervensi yang diidentifikasi sedang diterapkan.

Langkah transisi energi

Dengan kata lain, teknologi digital dapat meningkatkan efisiensi energi dan mengurangi konsumsi bahan bakar di berbagai industri dan sektor. Digitalisasi bisa membantu menganalisis dan menyarankan mengkalibrasi yang diperlukan. Sehingga, hal ini bisa mengubah cara orang memanfaatkan energi dan lebih bertanggung jawab terhadap keberlangsungan masa depan planet.

“Di sinilah saya yakin digitalisasi dan dekarbonisasi harus berjalan seiring, karena ini akan memastikan bahwa industri mengalami perubahan struktural dan mencapai tujuannya,” kata Vivek.

Vivek lantas menyarankan lima langkah untuk membantu bisnis untuk bersiap melakukan peralihan energi:

  1. Pemilik usaha mesti memahami bagaimana perubahan energi bisa memengaruhi maju-mundurnya perusahaan;
  2. Tetapkan target yang berani dan ambisius terkait penerapan bisnis berkelanjutan, misal menargetkan seberapa besar pengurangan jejak karbon yang ingin dicapai setelah melakukan transisi energi;
  3. Pertimbangkan juga situasi-situasi terkait dan pengaruhnya;
  4. Buat perencanaan yang menyeluruh yang akan menjadi pedoman strategi dan berikan target yang jelas dan bertahap;
  5. Berikan detil implementasi Langkah penerapan strategi atas perubahan energi yang akan dilakukan. Perlu juga dipertimbangkan keseimbangan antara pengurangan jejak karbon dengan profit yang dihasilkan.

Saat ini, masyarakat yang lebih memiliki kesadaran tentang kelestarian lingkungan terus mendorong perusahaan untuk mengurangi jejak karbon dan jumlah emisi yang dihasilkan. Dorongan ini telah menimbulkan perubahan besar dalam lanskap perusahaan dan pemerintah.

Sehingga, bisnis harus mengubah pola pikir mereka dari sekadar profitabilitas dengan mengorbankan lingkungan menjadi paradigma yang berkelanjutan dan menguntungkan. Harus ada saling ketergantungan dan penekanan yang lebih besar pada operasi dan inovasi ramah lingkungan.

Mengadopsi praktik berkelanjutan tidak hanya bermanfaat bagi lingkungan, tetapi dapat meningkatkan produktivitas, menurunkan biaya, memuaskan para pemegang saham, dan sejumlah keuntungan lainnya.

“Ada banyak contoh di seluruh dunia bagaimana teknologi atau solusi yang digunakan oleh kaum muda atau komunitas yang lebih besar benar-benar membuat perbedaan yang berarti. Tapi memang dibutuhkan upaya yang signifikan untuk meningkatkan kesadaran dan membentuk forum di mana orang dapat mendiskusikan masalah mereka, berbagi ide, dan mendapatkan sumber daya yang diperlukan untuk menyelesaikannya,” Vivek menyimpulkan.

Menurut Vivek, perhitungan transformasi ekonomi sangat diperlukan Ketika perusahaan melakukan dekarbonisasi. Begitu pun halnya ketika mereka melihat peluang bisnis baru. Perusahaan harus benar-benar mempertimbangkan teknologi dan inovasi yang akan mereka pakai, menganalisa berbagai model bisnis yang cocok untuk mengambil peluang ini.

Hal ini disampailan berdasarkan pengalaman Vivek yang telah memimpin beberapa transformasi skala besar dan membangun bisnis baru di berbagai wilayah, salah satunya membangu konglomerat energi di Indonesia. Dari pengalaman ini, dia yakin bahwa diperlukan cara berpikir yang berbeda secara fundamental tentang masalah bisnis apa pun.

Salah satu hal yang perlu dipertimbangkan adalah apa yang akan menjadi proposisi nilai unik yang akan ditawarkan. Sehingga, perlu diperjelas tawaran unik dan bagaimana agar hal ini bisa dinilai penting oleh pelanggan. Sementara bagi petahana, memilih model bisnis yang berbeda juga penting.

Berdasarkan pengalaman, selain model bisnis, memiliki sumber daya manusia yang tepat juga menjadi penentu momentum kesuksesan bisnis. Baik organisasi swasta maupun publik menyadari bahwa perubahan perlu terjadi dengan cepat. Sumber daya semakin sulit didapat sementara permintaan meningkat, membutuhkan keseimbangan untuk membangun masa depan yang berkelanjutan. “Teknologi hijau akan membantu dunia mencapai tingkat yang berkelanjutan dan menjadikan lingkungan lebih bersih dan aman bagi semua orang.”

Untuk menerapkan teknologi berkelanjutan di suatu negara, akan nada berbagai pendekatan praktis dan efektif. “Saya percaya bahwa setiap negara akan menggunakan teknologi yang berbeda; campuran teknologi, tingkat adopsi, dan biaya penerapan semuanya akan sangat berbeda. Namun, setiap negara perlu mempertimbangkan teknologi berkelanjutan apa yang relevan bagi mereka, mempertimbangkan penerapannya, dan mempertimbangkan alasan melakukannya.”

Akan ada percepatan transisi energi jika individu-individu di negara ini mengubah perilaku mereka, pemerintah mempertimbangkan bagaimana peraturan yang memberdayakan harus dibuat, atau bagaimana bisnis memutuskan bagaimana mereka akan beroperasi.

Ide dan Solusi Urban Melalui LKYGBPC

Vivek berada di Panel Juri Internasional (IJP) dari Kompetisi Rencana Bisnis Global Lee Kuan Yew (LKYGBPC), tantangan start-up universitas global dua tahunan yang diadakan di Singapura.

Bagi Vivek, tugasnya sebagai juri adalah untuk menggerakkan, mengembangkan, dan menegakkan jiwa kewirausahaan para peserta LKYGBPC. Untuk itu, dalam melakukan penjurian, Vivek berfokus pada seberapa efektif inovasi solusi dan teknologi yang digunakan mampu memecahkan masalah. Tolak ukur lain yang digunakan adalah seberapa besar dampak dari teknologi yang diimplementasikan bisa mengubah dunia.

“Kedua parameter ini akan sangat berguna dalam mempertimbangkan bagaimana kita memilih, atau bagaimana saya akan memilih berbagai teknologi.”

Ia mengakui, bakat kewirausahaan yang inovatif dapat ditumbuhkembangkan lebih luas di masyarakat luas melalui kompetisi semacam itu. Ini berfungsi sebagai ilustrasi tentang bagaimana mereka mendorong inovasi dan kewirausahaan di seluruh masyarakat.

Persaingan juga merupakan salah satu contoh menanamkan budaya dimana generasi penerus memikirkan bagaimana sesuatu dapat dilakukan secara berbeda. Pesaing mengeksplorasi ide-ide kreatif dan memiliki forum tempat mereka dapat berbagi pemikiran, yang dapat menjadi contoh bagus untuk memelihara inovasi.

Kompetisi LKYGBPC yang diselenggarakan oleh Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship di Singapore Management University (SMU) ini berpusat pada ide dan solusi perkotaan yang dikembangkan oleh mahasiswa pendiri dan start-up tahap awal. Ini diposisikan sebagai gerakan inovasi kampus yang berupaya membangun ekosistem startup global dengan pendukung keuangan, termasuk pemodal ventura, oligopoli perusahaan, dan organisasi pemerintah.

“Saya percaya banyak dari sekolah terkemuka kami melakukan pekerjaan yang baik dalam menanamkan budaya di mana anak-anak berpikir tentang bagaimana hal-hal dapat dilakukan secara berbeda dan apa itu ide kreatif,” komentar Vivek.

Ada banyak contoh di seluruh dunia di mana teknologi atau solusi yang digunakan oleh kaum muda atau komunitas yang lebih besar benar-benar membuat perbedaan yang berarti. “Tapi memang dibutuhkan upaya yang signifikan untuk meningkatkan kesadaran dan membentuk forum di mana orang dapat mendiskusikan masalah mereka, berbagi ide, dan mendapatkan sumber daya yang diperlukan untuk menyelesaikannya,” tutup Vivek.

Adapting, adopting and shifting methods, models and processes are unavoidable as technology develops and advances. Manufacturing robots, artificial intelligence and machine learning are just a few examples of rapidly evolving new technologies.

These technologies have the potential to save costs while enhancing output and quality. They have a vast scope and the potential to revolutionise existing enterprises and personal lives. They can make people’s lives easier while also requiring less human engagement.

Companies have realised that such cutting-edge solutions can take over specific roles and increase operational accuracy, production and efficiency. Automation and digital improvements have improved analytical, technical, and management capacities. Even today, many large technology organisations have reached a broad economic scale without a large staff base.

As a result, the workforce and skillset needs will change. Organisations require fewer people in roles managed by tech creating a greater need for employees with specific abilities.

The impact and opportunities

In an exclusive interview with Mohit Sagar, CEO and Editor-in-Chief OpenGov Asia, Michael Baron, CEO & Director ​of Baron Consulting Group, Singapore, believes technology changes will be positive for most people. But technological advancement may disappoint others because they may be concerned that technologies may replace their jobs.

“There will be proactive people and that people who are reactive. It is important to understand that further development is essential for people, companies and governments, to keep the nations and businesses competitive. So, I think the future will positively impact those who want to embrace the technologies. We need to focus on development rather than on keeping everyone happy,” explains Michael.

People can embrace the new technology with better utilisation. As an example, he shared how people will have gotten used to a pass-card ticketing system. Some time ago, the technology was introduced in several countries in Southeast Asia and Australia. People had to learn to adapt to the new ticketing system if they wanted to use the public transport system. While initially challenging for many, people have gotten used to it and, indeed, prefer it.

Baron urges people to view new technology as a unique opportunity. Change happens all the time in almost all spheres – sometimes rapidly and other times gradually. Businesses need to adjust their service offerings based on technological developments. It may require performing specific technology-related tasks for the companies which are no longer relevant.

“I recall a very old Chinese saying that every crisis is an opportunity. You can say that I lost my job and I lost my business proposition many times and I don’t see it as drama. I see it as an opportunity. See it as an interesting experience, a natural transformation,” Baron offers.

From a personal perspective, the analytics engine, for instance, has helped him to become a better chess player. The tools can help him to perform better in online chess games by analysing his game, understanding his mistakes and what opportunities he misses and suggesting what he should learn and how he can do better next time.

The same idea goes for organisations or governments. The private and public sectors can do better through digital transformation and utilise technological advancement to maintain their position in the marketplace. It’s not a matter of enjoying it or not embracing the norm, it’s a matter of survival. It’s a matter of remaining relevant, of addressing the challenges by delivering better.

According to Baron, what is happening now is that traditional players are losing market share very fast and possibly don’t even understand the market anymore. So, it is vital to reshape themselves, adopt new goals and embrace new technology.

As a big fan of predictive analytics, he believes that analytics can break into the past to build a better future. Citing a Greek philosopher that said history repeats itself implies this results in variations in a range of operations. So predictive analytics will play a role in calculating the future based on what happened in the past and emulate it for future problems.

In terms of challenges, Baron believes that security, privacy and controls will still be a big problem in the future. Ethical factors are also emerging around the globe today. Organisations with international presence have to comply with all the multiple countries’ respective laws and regulations regarding data ownership and management.

Sooner or later, organisations need to ensure compliance. Even though technology tends to develop faster than legal frameworks, ultimately all countries create regulatory frameworks.

Cultural spirit and political drive

Baron is convinced that both the private and public sectors can drive the technology improvements. Whether it is public or private-driven innovation, it is essential to keep forward-facing if an organisation or a nation intends to survive.

He acknowledges several governments’ efforts to stay ahead of the digital transformation journey, such as Japan, China and Singapore. These countries demonstrate how they can be leaders through cultural spirit and technology utilisation rather than only depending on their natural resources.

After World War Two, Japan’s economy was in a very difficult situation, dealing with the devastation and a lack of natural resources. They faced these challenges head-on by utilising technology and aggressively pursuing digital solutions. Eventually, they not only became a leading economy but were a global benchmark for development.

China, too, has a robust digital and technology vision for the country and has seen remarkable success. From a largely agrarian/rural society, it is now the second-largest economy worldwide. It is a great example of how political will plays a significant role in driving technology-enabled progress.

As for Singapore, the country has become a leading exponent of technology and digital innovation. Compensating for a lack of resources with heavy investment in technological development, innovation and education. They have harnessed their multicultural heritage and been wise in how they use their existing resources. Infrastructure, policies and pathways have made the nation a preferred destination for investment and international tech workers.

LKYGBPC entrepreneurial pathway

Technology development has a massive impact on future employment, hence the entrepreneurial path is one of the solutions to answering the challenge. As a member of the International Judging Panel (IJP) for the Lee Kuan Yew Global Business Plan Competition (LKYGBPC), Baron encourages people not just to embrace the ideas of others but to work with their ideas. He believes that everybody has something to bring to the table.

Teaching about technologies and related subjects, helping people acquire the necessary skills and traits, and providing the right environment is essential to foster entrepreneurship. But a little more is needed to create a culture of entrepreneurship.

He considers the international competition a fantastic way to bring a lot of global talent together to actualize their dream, to be inspired, express their concerns,and to find solutions. The competition creates the right environment to put ideas together and tailor them to suit specific marketplaces.

The competition is a chance for people with ideas to organise themselves, present their ideas to the big wide world and have a shot at being successful. To Baron, there should be more calls for international competitions they allow ideas to travel beyond the borders to create a better future for the world.

Science, engineering, technology, and innovation give people the power to develop a country and its quality of life. Investment in these areas is vital for economic growth and social progress.

Research and development in smart tech can help build greener cities with better access to essential systems and services for all. Moreover, infrastructure development, technology transfer and public and private R&D must be supported and regulated by good policies if they are to work.

To ensure scientific progress is encouraged and embraced at all levels of government decision-making, the Academy of Sciences Malaysia (ASM) is tasked with giving strategic advice to the government and stakeholders, as well as pursuing excellence in science, engineering, and technology for the benefit of everyone.

Malaysia’s S.E.T.I. Initiatives

Hazami Habib, Chief Executive Officer of the Academy of Sciences Malaysia, believes that bringing together experts from all fields of scientific, technological and humanities endeavour to address pressing national issues relating to science, engineering, technology, and innovation as well as to provide strategic input to the whole nation, the government will provide unrivalled public service.

One of the contributions of the ASM is to incorporate interactive learning of STEM into the pedagogy of education in Malaysian schools. “To see the performance and results, inquiry-based science education (IBSE) will create an interactive learning environment in the physical classroom. Therefore, we want to have this kind of ecosystem and environment in schools.”

She is eager to see more collaboration between tertiary education and industry so that any courses and curricula provided by universities are both industry-required and future-proof. This is why their organisation is working with the government to create collaboration between industry and academia. “I believe that will help us advance more.”

ASM is currently working with the Malaysian government, in particular the central agency, to begin evaluating public decision-making universities based on data. Hence, using facts, metrics, and data to inform strategic business decisions that align with goals, objectives, and initiatives is the most effective data-driven decision-making.

Making data-driven decisions the norm within an organisation is necessary to foster a climate that values scepticism and curiosity. “Data is the starting point of conversations at every level, and people improve their data skills through practice and application,” says Hazami.

At its core, this calls for a self-service model where users can access the data they require while maintaining a balance between security and governance. Additionally, it necessitates proficiency, resulting in opportunities for training and development for workers to acquire data skills.

Additionally, ASM has developed a Responsible Conduct of Research module which acts as a benchmark to have this code of ethics in research taught to all graduates, whether they are in hard sciences or the social sciences.

“We want that because every piece of knowledge we incorporate in the future will be based on good science and value. Therefore, we must consider bioethics, biosecurity, and training modules on ethics in research,” Hazami explains.

ASM has recently directed its scientists to provide solutions in close collaboration with the ministries. Citing as an example is their committee on water, energy, health, agriculture, and biodiversity (WEHAB++). For instance, when Malaysia faces issues such as the price hike for chicken feed which causes societal dissatisfaction, solutions to food security issues such as this can be provided by the Academy’s expert network through science and technology directly to the government and stakeholders.

In addition to providing policies and strategies to decision-makers, the ASM also teaches them how to carry out those policies and strategies by applying their knowledge.

Hazami highlighted the growing movement called “Open Science” which aims to open scientific data and research to the public. In addition to democratising knowledge, the international principle of making research data findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable (FAIR) will support open scientific inquiry and integrity, facilitate improved research management, and encourage data-intensive research.

Unprecedented insights and solutions to local, regional, and global complex challenges are made possible by integrating numerous data streams and enormous datasets across numerous disciplines.

Through the Malaysia Open Science Alliance, the Ministry of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment & Climate Change (MESTECC), now known as the Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation (MOSTI) and the ASM are laying the groundwork for the realisation of the Malaysia Open Science Platform (MOSP), a strategic transformative project to strengthen Malaysia’s STI Collaborative Ecosystem.

“The Malaysia Open Science Platform or MOSP aims to connect raw research data, then collaborate and share,” Hazami explains. “By creating a reliable platform that enables accessibility and sharing of research data aligned to national priorities and international best practices, this initiative seeks to transform Malaysia’s research data into a valuable national asset.”

Future-Focused Nation-Building

Hazami is passionate about science and technology because it has the power to change the nation. “I’m attempting to make a change, and one of those changes is in the area of science and technology.”

For her, the most meaningful contribution in her 26 years in the academy was when the government accepted 80% of their recommendations for transforming and creating change and an ecosystem. “For now, our current areas of focus are strengthening governance, the innovation ecosystem and the sustainability of R&D funding.”

A change in paradigm towards a growth mindset among policymakers, scientists and the younger generations is her greatest challenge and greatest passion. She believes that when decision-making is based on data, it can provide the best solution possible.

Hazami strongly believes that Malaysian women are more than capable of pursuing careers in science and technology. They hope to have a strong support network to help them succeed in those fields, whether as practitioners or scientists.

“Our goal is flexibility. We need to have an open work environment and open innovation because we can work from home as researchers and scientists. We are more adaptable now. If we can accomplish this, more and more women will contribute to the workforce more effectively,” she says emphatically.

By reaching out to the top management and demystifying technical terms, OpenGov Asia, a steadfast supporter of Malaysia’s digital transformation journey and an advocate for citizen-centric development, will continue to help bring about change. Hazami concludes by urging top leaders to practice a growth mindset for the betterment of the country.

Hazami strongly believes that over the course of the next five years, ASM will continue to serve as a catalyst for change and create the science, technology, innovation, and economy (STIE) ecosystem for the entire nation towards the full potential of digital transformation, including the Malaysian transformation and the humanisation of the economy. “Leaders’ courageous decisions pave the road to successful digital transformation.”

AI and other digital technologies could help solve some of the world’s most important social problems, like climate change, biodiversity loss, food insecurity and risks to public health, among others. Harnessing digital capabilities to promote a transformative system could be a game-changer for a sustainable and equitable global future.

Today’s consumers expect more than great products and services, and businesses are well aware of this. Clients want to feel like they are investing in a reputable, responsible brand. Consequently, the most market-dominant businesses are not merely profitable and have good products but those that have multiple alternate bottom lines – social, environmental and sustainable.

More than 90% of business executives agree that sustainability is crucial to their success. As consumer groups continue to publish reports on the increased desire for more environmentally friendly corporate practices, it is simple to see why green marketing strategies are gaining such importance.

The environment and sustainability are vital components in the strategy and operations of enterprises looking to be more conscientious. Organisations have been taking proactive steps to develop a greener future with their consumers, partners, stakeholders and workers. These efforts include environmental initiatives, community outreach efforts and business practices.

Advancing Environmental Sustainability and Resilience

In an exclusive interview with Mohit Sagar, CEO & Editor-in-Chief of OpenGov Asia, Vivek Lath, Partner at McKinsey & Company, Singapore, acknowledges that climate change concerns have accelerated progress, such as the move from fossil fuels into renewables. Climate change and related critical events have helped people realise how severely irresponsible development affects the planet. And in this digital era, people are deploying cutting-edge solutions to manage global warming.

“Everyone is becoming aware of the necessity for action to attain sustainability,” says Vivek. “There is a growing interest in corporate sustainability and how corporations can strive for it to meet the needs of stakeholders for social, economic, and environmental implications.”

Most businesses are considering ways to contribute significantly, which will need robust investment and efforts. “We see businesses quickening their momentum and considering effective climate innovations. A case in point is how electric mobility companies can be affected by the huge reductions in costs for climate technology.”

Vivek believes it is possible to adapt a company’s digital strategy to mitigate and deal with extreme climate change. Companies must include digitalisation and decarbonisation in their strategy, as industry 4.0 technologies will play a crucial role in meeting the emissions reduction goal.

Digital technologies can increase energy efficiency and decrease fuel consumption across multiple industries and sectors. Digitalisation has the potential to revolutionise the way people and technology interact by helping to analyse and calibrate necessary interventions.

By utilising digitalisation, businesses can identify the emissions sources, whether at the product level, manufacturing unit level, or equipment level. They can then determine the necessary interventions to reduce emissions, such as a change in the manufacturing or personnel settings, and then monitor whether the identified interventions are being implemented.

“Here is where I believe digitalisation and decarbonisation must go hand-in-hand, as this will ensure that industries undergo structural changes and reach their objective,” says Vivek.

Businesses need to be more conscious of the need to be prepared for the energy shift, and he has five relevant steps for how businesses should approach this:

  1. Develop an understanding of how energy shifts will affect your company;
  2. Think about a bold and ambitious target, such as considering how big of a carbon footprint reduction they intend to achieve with this energy transition;
  3. Consider various situations and their effects;
  4. Create a comprehensive plan that will serve as an overall strategy with well-defined and cascading targets;
  5. Think about implementation, where companies strike a balance between all the goals, e.g., carbon footprint and profitability

Right now, society is more conscious of sustainability and is calling for companies to shift their carbon footprint and be more conscious about emissions. This is causing profound changes in the corporate and government landscape.

Organisations can work toward more sustainable practices with the aid of corporate sustainability’s economic, social and environmental pillars. Businesses must alter their mindset from just profitability at the expense of the environment to a sustainable and profitable paradigm. There must be interdependence and a greater emphasis on operations and eco-innovation.

Adopting sustainable practices benefits the environment, but businesses have also demonstrated that these programmes can boost productivity, lower costs, make shareholders happy, and a host of other advantages.

“Corporate entities must take the initiative in determining pertinent technologies. Companies must implement technologies to decrease their carbon footprint. They are the ones that will bring about change. Governments can decide the legislation, but unless companies change, it will be difficult to achieve net zero,” Vivek firmly believes.

A green economy is the practice of sustainable development supported by public and private investment in creating an infrastructure that promotes social and environmental sustainability. A green economy refers to an economy in which individuals are increasingly aware of their carbon emissions and are taking steps to reduce them.

A carbon footprint is the total amount of greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide and methane, that corporations and individuals generate.

There are numerous practical and effective approaches to implementing sustainable technologies at the national level. “I believe that each country will deploy different technologies; the mix of technologies, the adoption rate, and the deployment cost will all be very different. However, each country will need to consider what sustainable technologies are relevant to them, consider implementing them, and consider the reasons for doing so.”

According to Vivek, decarbonisation entails significant economic transformation. When new business opportunities arise in Asia, companies must contemplate how they will be the first to take advantage. To do this, they must seriously consider the technologies and industries they want to innovate in or implement and the various business models they should use to take these opportunities.

There will be an acceleration of the energy transitions if individuals in the nation change their behaviour, the government considers how the empowering regulations should be made, or how businesses decide how they will operate.

Vivek has led several large-scale transformations and new business builds across the region, such as for an energy conglomerate in Indonesia. From this experience, he is convinced that a fundamentally different way of thinking about any business problem is required.

It requires thinking about what the unique value proposition is going to be and thinking about getting new talent to build a business from the ground up. Some of his most memorable moments on this journey include realising the value of having the right talent.

Another thing he learned is that customer preferences change at very different levels. So, thinking about the organisation’s unique value propositions and how customers perceive them becomes very important. For incumbents, choosing different business models can also be essential.

Both private and public organisations are aware that change needs to occur quickly. Resources are becoming harder to come by while demand is rising, necessitating a balance to build a sustainable future. “Green technologies will help the world achieve sustainable levels and make the environment cleaner and safer for everyone.”

Urban Ideas and Solutions Through LKYGBPC

Vivek is on the International Judging Panel (IJP) of the Lee Kuan Yew Global Business Plan Competition (LKYGBPC), a biennial global university start-up challenge held in Singapore.

As a member of the judging panel charged with driving, developing, and upholding the entrepreneurial spirit of the LKYGBPC participants, Vivek is focused on the innovativeness of the solutions, such as how effectively the technology solves the problem.

He also believes that feasibility and how the different technologies are correctly implemented can significantly change the world. “These two parameters will be quite useful in considering how we are selecting, or how I would select various technologies.”

He acknowledges that innovative entrepreneurship talent can be cultivated wider in the broader community through such competitions. These serve as an illustration of how they are fostering innovation and entrepreneurship across society.

The competition is also one example of instilling a culture where the next generation is thinking about how things can be done differently. Competitors explore creative ideas and have a forum where they can share their thoughts, which can be a great example of nurturing innovation.

The competition, which is run by the Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Singapore Management University (SMU), is centred on urban ideas and solutions developed by student founders and early-stage start-ups. It is positioned as a campus innovation movement that seeks to establish a global startup ecosystem with financial backers, including venture capitalists, corporate oligopolies, and governmental organisations.

“I believe many of our leading schools are doing a great job of instilling a culture where children are thinking about how things can be done differently and what are creative ideas,” Vivek opines.

There are numerous instances throughout the world where the technologies or solutions used by youth or larger communities have truly made a meaningful difference. “But it does take some significant effort to raise awareness and establish a forum where people can discuss their concerns, share their ideas, and obtain the resources needed to solve them,” Vivek concludes.